Suspected drunk driver hits 4 construction workers, killing 1 near Concord Mills

CONCORD, N.C. — A road construction worker was killed and three others were hurt after being hit by a drunken driver near Concord Mills Mall early Saturday morning, police said.

Danyel Middleton was charged with felony death by a motor vehicle, and police said she could face more charges. She spent her 22nd birthday in jail and will face a judge Monday.

Socorro Martinez, 50, was confirmed dead at the scene.

Martinez's family told Channel 9 that he was a father trying to make a better life for his family.


They said he planned to return to Mexico in December to reunite with his 1-year-old son, but now that will never happen.

"They gave him options to work nights and weekends, and he took them because he needed more money," his family said. "He was really happy because he wanted to see the new house in Mexico. He never got to see the house, just pictures."

Three other workers were taken to a nearby hospital. Two were treated and released. The third has improved from critical condition to stable condition.


The crash happened around 1:45 a.m. on Concord Mills Boulevard near Entry A to Concord Mills Mall.

Police said the four crewmen were working on road improvements when Middleton plowed into them. According to authorities, the crew had appropriate signs and lighting indicating the work zone.

"They're just trying to make a living, and they can't come to work and be safe," a Concord community member told Channel 9's DaShawn Brown.

Officials said the four who were struck were workers with Cruz Brothers Concrete. The company, based near Burlington, North Carolina, is said to have over 75 years of experience and is family-owned.

For community members, news of the crash was unsettling enough, but even more so close to home.

"You know, sometimes if I want to go out and drive at night, it makes me a lot more nervous knowing something like this could've happened," Nate Seedorf said.

"Not only is the driver going to live with that for the rest of her life, but the family of the victims are also going to be dealing with this forever," another community member told Channel 9.

Middleton is being held at the Cabarrus County Jail with bail set at $1 million.

Cruz Brothers Concrete sent Channel 9 the following statement: 

"Socorro grew up in Mexico alongside the owners of Cruz Brothers Concrete. He was known to be a humorous, jovial person and will be greatly missed....As for our other three employees, we are grateful to say that they are recovering and making progress. However, the rest of our employees are left with fear and having to cope with this traumatic experience."

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.